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HTTP Basic Authentication for Elasticsearch
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IMPORTANT NOTICE: versions 1.0.4 is insecure and should not be used. They have a bug that allows an attacker to get ip authentication by setting its ip on the 'Host' header.

HTTP Basic auth for ElasticSearch

This plugin provides an extension of ElasticSearchs HTTP Transport module to enable HTTP Basic authorization and Ip based authorization.

Requesting / does not request authentication to simplify health check configuration.

There is no way to configure this on a per index basis.

Version Mapping

Http Basic Plugin elasticsearch
v1.5.0(master) 1.5.x
v1.4.0 1.4.0
v1.3.0 1.3.0
v1.2.0 1.2.0
1.1.0 1.0.0
1.0.4 0.90.7


Download the desired version from and copy it to plugins/http-basic.


Once the plugin is installed it can be configured in the elasticsearch modules configuration file. See the elasticserach directory layout information for more information about the default paths of an ES installation.

Setting key Default value Notes
http.basic.enabled true true disables the default ES HTTP Transport module
http.basic.user "admin"
http.basic.password "admin_pw"
http.basic.ipwhitelist ["localhost", ""] If set to false no ip will be whitelisted. Uses Host Name Resolution from
http.basic.trusted_proxy_chains [] Set an array of trusted proxies ips chains
http.basic.log false enables plugin logging to ES log. Unauthenticated requests are always logged.
http.basic.xforward "" most common is X-Forwarded-For

Be aware that the password is stored in plain text.

Ip based authentication

A client is authenticated iff its request is trusted and its ip is whitelisted. A Request from a client connected directly (direct client) is trusted. Its ip is the request ip. A Request form a client connected via proxies (remote client) is trusted iff there is a tail subchain of the request chain that matches a tail subchain of the trusted proxy chains.

A tail subchain of a chain "A,B,C" is a subchain that matches it by the end. Example: the 3 tail subchains of the ip chain A,B,C are:

(pseudo code) tailSubchains("A,B,C") --> ["A,B,C", "B,C", "C"]

The request chain of a remote client is obtained following these steps:

  • read the request's xforward configured header field.
  • remove the xforwarded defined client's ip (first listed ip as defined by X-Forwarded-For) from it.
  • append the request ip to it.

The ip chain of a remote client is the ip previous to the longest trusted tail subchain .Is the ip used to check against the whitelist.

Request chain checks

Having the following configuration:

http.basic.xforward = 'X-Forwarded-For'
http.basic.trusted_proxy_chains = ["B,C", "Z"]

Trusted cases:

  • A remote client with ip A connects to [server] via proxies with ips B and C. X-Forwarded-For header has "A,B", removing the client's ip "A" and adding the request ip C, the resulting chain B,C matches a trusted tail subchain. Client's ip is A.

    [A] --> B --> C --> [server]
  • A remote client with ip A connects to [server] via proxies with ips R, P, B and C. X-Forwarded-For header has "A,R,P,B". Removing the client's ip "A" and adding the request ip C , the resulting chain ** matches a trusted tail subchain. note: in this case "P" is taken as the client's ip, and checked against the white list. Client's ip is P.

      [A] --> R --> P --> B --> C --> [server]
  • A remote client with ip A connects to [server] via C. X-Forwarded-For header has A, removing the client's ip A and adding the request ip C, the resulting chain C matches a trusted tail subchain. Client's ip is A.

      [A] --> C --> [server]
  • client A connects directly to [server]. X-Forwarded-For header is not set. Client's ip is A.

    [A] --> [server]

Untrusted cases:

  • A remote client with ip A connects to [server] via D. X-Forwarded-For header has "A", removing the client's ip "A" and adding the request ip D, the resulting chain D doesn't match any trusted sub ip chain.

      [A] --> D --> [server]
  • A remote client with ip X connects to proxy with ip C passing a faked X-Forwarded-For header "R". C will check the IP of the request and add it to the X-Forwarded-For field. the server will receive and X-Forwarded-For header as: "R,X", remove the client's ip "R", add the request ip "C" and finally drop the request, as "X,C" doesn't match the trusted ip.

      [X] -- R --> C --> [server]

configuration example

The following code enables plugin logging, sets user and password, sets chain "," as trusted , whitelists ip and defines xforward header as the common 'X-Forwarded-For':

http.basic.log: true
http.basic.user: "some_user"
http.basic.password: "some_password"
http.basic.ipwhitelist: [""]
http.basic.xforward: "X-Forwarded-For"
http.basic.trusted_proxy_chains: [","]


note: localhost is a whitelisted ip as default. Considering a default configuration with my_username and my_password configured.

Correct credentials

$ curl -v localhost:9200 # works (returns 200) (by default localhost is configured as whitelisted ip)
$ curl -v --user my_username:my_password no_local_host:9200/foo # works (returns 200) (if credentials are set in configuration)

Wrong credentials

$ curl -v --user my_username:wrong_password no_local_host:9200/    # health check, returns 200 with  "{\"OK\":{}}" although Unauthorized
$ curl -v --user my_username:password no_local_host:9200/foo       # returns 401



Maven is configured to run the unit and integration tests. This plugin makes use of ES Integration Tests

mvn test test runs all tests mvn integration-test test runs integration tests only


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